DOVER -- While the technique has been practiced for 2,000 years in China, acupuncture has only become well-known in the United States over the past 20 years. Acupuncture has entered the mainstream of American medical care and is increasingly being utilized as an alternative form of pain management.

The Union Hospital Pain Management Center has added acupuncture to the list of pain management techniques being offered to patients. It's termed an "alternative therapy" by Andrew Luxenberg, M.D., an anesthesia specialist who provides the acupuncture treatments in the Pain Management Center.

Dr. Luxenberg says he's using acupuncture to treat patients with chronic pain resulting from osteo-arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, and other types of muscular-skeletal pain. The doctor says acupuncture is used for pain management only after first consulting with the patient and evaluating their condition.

In addition to pain management, Dr. Luxenburg is using acupuncture to help patients stop smoking and to lose weight.

Not all healthcare insurance plans include acupuncture as a covered treatment. Patients are advised to check with their insurance provider.

Dr. Luxenberg will be the guest speaker at the next Union Hospital "Take Charge of Your Health Program" on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Union Hospital Auditorium. The program is free but registration is requested in advance by calling the hospital's Community Relations office at (330) 602-0778 or online at www.unionhospital.org, "Health Events"